Grindr, held by the Chinese firm Beijing Kunlun Technology Co., has announced plans to issue an overseas IPO, reigniting an international conversation around China’s LGBT+ rights track record.
The Chinese government routinely censors LGBT+ content. China’s largest lesbian social network, Rela, was shut down last year following its role in a demonstration at the Shanghai Marriage Market, and organizations advocating for LGBT+ rights or representation tread extremely lightly.
Officially, Chinese culture hasn’t progressed much past the decriminalization of homosexuality, which took place in 1994. But younger generations of Chinese increasingly accept LGBT+ identities, and Chinese companies are beginning to grapple with the economic relevance of the country’s LGBT+ market, which UK-based investment firm LGBT Capital valued at over $938 billion.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the world’s fifth largest internet company, demonstrated its support of LGBT+ rights in 2015 by paying for seven LGBT+ couples to be married in Los Angeles. LGBT+ targeted businesses in China are expanding from major cities into smaller ones.
As more and more businesses begin marketing to the LGBT+ community, LGBT+ Chinese will become increasingly integrated into the Chinese economy, and increasingly difficult for the government to silence without serious economic repercussions. China could provide a powerful example of the potential for businesses to both drive and signal progress for LGBT+ rights.
Read more at Bloomberg